In 2015 we purchased a 35 acre dump in the dry, forgotten chaparral foothills of Riverside county and began the arduous process of restoration. Over the course of the past eight years, we pulled thousands of loads of garbage, created swales to improve aquifers, built soil, planted pioneer species, and made this a home for our small mission-driven community. The once abandoned dump is now a thriving campground and event center, voted in the top ten campgrounds on HipCamp in all of California for the past three years.
We’ve also met some pretty amazing people along the way. Those people inspired us to devise a business plan that would fulfill unmet needs in the market while enabling us to support and grow every aspect of our mission.
Intentional community is not something one is born into, but rather something that one chooses. Do you want to learn to serve with others toward a cause? Do you want to feel more connected to others? These are some of the main reasons that people look into intentional community. Some of the main concerns that turn people away from such a notion is how to keep people accountable and agreeable toward one another? Most relationships fail, most partnerships fail. A community based on relationships and partnerships has two huge challenges standing in the way of its success and both must be consciously addressed. Accountability is in earning one's keep and agreeability is in recognizing that the others around you are playing a key role in your own well being. The basic agreement is -- that we are not here to be used by each other, but to give ourselves to each other as much as we can.
Learn to work together, play together, eat together, decide together, dance and hug -- as often as possible.
Some of the things that we've learned (and are always relearning) is that we all want to be heard and we want to be given the benefit of the doubt. Both of these are ways of showing respect and trust. Those who can learn to respect and trust one another build loyalty and collective resilience. Listen with full attention and an open mind, speak with clarity, sincerity and without aggression.
A contract is written agreement that is signed by all before they engage in action with one another. Most relationships evolve out of assumption. Intention is knowing what you want and agreeing to it before commitments are made. A contract not only outlines expectations, it also identifies benefits for meeting and consequences for not meeting them. All residents of EcoShire are bound to contractual agreement in maintaining community health, safety and positive growth.
Our contract as a community is also based around effectively running professional businesses related to regenerative agriculture, land restoration and bringing people together to connect with themselves, their tribe, their values and Nature.
Nothing is and no one is perfect. This is no excuse for giving up on your mission or commitments. The rule of thumb is "is it good enough for now, and safe enough to try..."